Activist: Video Shows Kenneka Jenkins Walking Into Hotel Freezer, Alone

ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) — For days, the big question has been this: How did Kenneka Jenkins end up in a Rosemont hotel’s walk-in freezer?

Thursday, Chicago crisis responder Andrew Holmes tried to help shed some light on the 19-year-old Chicago woman’s mysterious death.

Jenkins was found dead inside the freezer early Sunday after attending a party at the Crowne Plaza. Her family previously said she went to a party at the hotel with friends late Friday night. Her friends called family members Saturday morning to say they couldn’t find her.

Holmes says he watched hotel surveillance video that shows Jenkins walking, on her own, into the freezer. She appeared to be trying to find her way back upstairs to the hotel lobby, trying different doors, Holmes says.

“We all wanted to know:  Did anybody pull her down there? Did anybody force her down there? Was anybody on the other side in that room when she got down there? And the answer to that is no,” Holmes said. “She walked into that unsecured area that should have been secured.”

After news of the death broke, a social-media firestorm erupted, with some people suggesting Jenkins fell victim to foul play.

Protesters and family members converged on the hotel Wednesday, demanding answers from the village government and hotel operators. Another demonstration occurred Thursday evening, and it got heated at times, leading to four people being taken into custody.

“It was a tragic accident,” said Glenn Harston, a Crowne Plaza spokesperson.

He said the walk-in freezer has latches on both sides of the door but does not lock.

Police say they have now officially released the surveillance video to Jenkins’ mother and to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, which requested the material. Autopsy results are pending.

Also Thursday, the Crowne Plaza offered to pay for the funeral expenses for Jenkins.

Holmes, meanwhile, asked people to stop speculating and making accusations on social media. If someone thinks they have evidence, they should go to police directly, he said.

Holmes says he can’t comment on all of the video he reviewed because police are still working on the case.

Rosemont police confirmed they looped Holmes into the case, saying they did so with the knowledge and consent of Jenkins’ family.

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